Narrows Branch Question - Terminal Facilities at Narrows

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Tue Jan 2 20:13:40 EST 2018

In 2009 I had occasion to interview a retired Radford Division Engineer who started as a fireman in 1941.  He told me about firing several trips on the Narrows Branch.  The engines were Class G (which he reported to be hard to fire) and the trips were out of Radford.  He also stated that they turned the engine on an “armstrong” turntable at Narrows going on and coming off of the branch.  Unfortunately, I didn't have an opportunity to have him point out exactly where the turntable was located.

I have talked to a few people over the years that remember the branch being in service but none who knew any of the details about the operation other than this gentleman.

W.E. Honeycutt 

From: NW Mailing List 
Sent: Monday, January 01, 2018 6:25 PM
To: N&W Mailing List 
Cc: Ben Blevins 
Subject: Narrows Branch Question - Terminal Facilities at Narrows

As I understand it, the "Narrows Branch" came off the Main Line on a facing point switch in the Eastbound main track, just west of the Wolf Creek Bridge, west of Narrows depot. (All traces of it had been obliterated by the time I hired in 1964.)

The New River Holston & Western was operated as a self-standing company from 1903 to 1919, which meant it had to have its own terminal facilities at Narrows.  The problem is that from the switch in the N&W Main Line, the first half mile of the branch is that the line lies on the west bank of Wolf Creek around a big bluff, with no room for an ash pit, water tank, coal wharf and turn table or wye.  The first flat spot of land which would afford room for such facilities, and a few tracks, is at the big curve in present Park Drive, coordinates 327.329  -80.8160, which is almost 6/10 mile from the NRH&W's junction switch with the N&W.

Does anyone know if this is, indeed, where the NRH&W had its terminal facilities, yard tracks, engine service track and depot?   What became of the old NRH&W depot at Narrows?

Second question:  N&W took over the NRH&W in 1919.  Did the N&W continue to work the branch with an engine and crew stationed somewhere around Narrows, or did the engine and crew come out of some other terminal (e.g. Radford) ?

-- abram burnett
                  Sent to You from my Telegraph Key
Successor to the MAGNETIC TELEGRAPH LINE of 1844

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